All of his young life, two things defined Jarrin Platt; his love of dogs and a great desire to help people. At age 28, Platt is living his dream, having assumed the duties of canine officer for the De Queen Police Department.
An anti-drug warrior, Platt joined the force as a patrol officer in March 2018. In May 2019, when canine officer J.J. Lopez left the department, Platt inherited the organization’s canine, Kilo, a Belgian Malinois that came to De Queen via the Howard County Sheriff’s Department in 2018.
Unfortunately, after only a month working together, a pinched nerve ended Kilo’s career and he was retired and returned to his original trainer in Howard County in 2019.
“My kids were really falling for him and becoming attached to him,” Platt said about the breakup. “It was like giving your best friend away.”
Platt never got to personally work with Kilo, due to the dog failing his re-certification, but he was able to spend time around him and the previous handler, so he spent time watching them work.
At the time Kilo was being retired, the De Queen Police Department made the decision to obtain another canine for the department, and with a $4,500 donation from Arvest Bank, they were able to acquire Raptor, a 2-year-old Belgian Malinois, last August. Platt met the new member of the De Queen Police Department at the academy in Little Rock, where the two had to endure eighty hours of training in two weeks, which was easy compared to their having to share a hotel room together the 14 days.
“We had a long time to spend together,” Platt said. “Taking care of him was like taking care of six four-year-old kids.”
Raptor received four types of training including narcotics detection, tracking and the apprehension of fleeing suspects. Platt said Raptor was “excited” to go through the training and that the two spent the time at the academy learning from each other. He said compared to Kilo though, who would listen to all his handlers, Raptor was a little more independent and a lot less friendly.
“He bites me on a weekly basis,” Platt said.
Once on the streets though, Platt has grown confident in his canine partner. In less than six months, Raptor has had a hand in six drug arrests, two of which were felonies. And everyday Platt and Raptor train together, practicing the art of locating drugs on suspects. As an example, Platt or someone else will plant drugs in or around a vehicle and Raptor will go to work to find them, with each training episode being made a little more difficult.
“He’s doing really good,” Platt said, noting that the attitude of suspects change dramatically when Raptor appears on an alleged crime scene.
“They realize he’s a police dog and he’s going to do his job,” Platt said.
Platt said that his interactions with the public has changed as well, going from a patrol officer to a canine handler.
“Kids that used to be scared of police are not with the dog,” he said. “They all want to see the dog.”
Platt said he enjoys seeing Raptor progress in his job duties and that he’s doing a really good job. Raptor will come up for re-certification in August and Platt believes he will show a lot of growth by then.
“I’m looking forward to watching him progress until he’s best dog he can be,” he said, noting that everything they learned in the two-week academy, they’ll need to demonstrate in one day when they return to Little Rock. “I believe he’s on track,” Platt said.
Platt, who hails from Horatio, said he enjoys being a member of the De Queen Police Department and that he hopes to spend his entire career there. He and his wife are raising four kids, three girls and a boy, in the local area.
“Everyday is different, you never do the same thing and you don’t know what you’re going get into when you go to work and check in 10-8,” he said. “You kiss your wife and kids and hope to go home at the end of hate day.”
Family’s important to Platt, and when it’s been a tough day on the job, his wife has been a rock he can go to and share some of the more painful moments of the day. As tough as he is, it breaks his heart to have to tell a child that a parent won’t be able to be there with them that night.
“You never see anyone at their best,” he said. “They’re always at their worst.”
But his wife has been there to share his goals and encourage him to fulfill them. Platt also depends heavily on his law enforcement family, which provides him the empathy he needs due to their experience on the streets.
“They’re there when you need them,” he said, specifically noting Chief Scott Simmons, Capt. Sonny Kimmel and Lt. Chad Bradshaw. He said that Officer Kris Hundley has become a best friend and was a resource he often leaned on for wisdom and advice.
“Sometimes there are things that are hard to deal with and you have to talk and then regroup,” he said. “Guys that have been here longer than me are always there to talk to to help me get through it.”
Recently Platt got into a pursuit of a stolen vehicle where a fellow law enforcement officer was injured in an accident due to the pursuit.
“I just heard his voice on the radio saying he needed help,” Platt said. “Not knowing what happened and not knowing until I showed up was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.”